May 082011
Authors: Courtney Stuard

When I transferred to CSU as a sophomore, I was ready to start a new chapter. But turning over a new page did not include writing for the Rocky Mountain Collegian. To be honest, I did not even like reading the Collegian, except for maybe RamTalk and a couple editorials. And occasionally I would attempt the always-absurdly difficult crossword when I was bored in class.

So, despite the urgings of my professors to do so, I obstinately decided not to join student media. But finally, as a senior, I relinquished and joined the media cult. Despite loathing the idea of writing for newspapers, I applied to be a columnist at the Collegian contributing my opinion.

Before the Collegian I had tried the editorial thing at a political magazine, only to be told that my political ideas – because they do not fit within the two dominate political parties – did not conform enough to paper guidelines. Frustrated by that experience, I was not exactly enthused about writing editorials for the Collegian.

But then I recalled why I studied journalism, despite the promise of an abysmal salary out of college. I wanted to be a journalist because I was a “bleeding-heart” humanitarian who wanted to right all the wrongs, and set the facts straight. Writing as a columnist would give me the opportunity to write factually-based, well-argued opinions and maybe even inspire change. Plus, I highly doubted that the new editorial editor at the Collegian, Chadwick Bowman, would censor my ideas seeing how he is a self-proclaimed “progressive social liberal.”

With that, my short-lived career with the Collegian began.

Since the first week of my column, I have relentlessly attempted to change the way readers examine the news. I desire for every consumer of media to critically process what they consume. Examine and question everything! I zealously believe the cure for most injustice and corruption that goes on in the world begins with the individual. That idea inspired me to at least give newspaper editorial writing a second chance.

What better time to be inspired to incite change than in college? College students come to school to learn. An integral part of a college-level education includes learning how to critically analyze, critique, think. If you have managed to pass through four years of college without ever critically assessing the content of at least one paper, ideology or present and historical events, then get a refund (or maybe you should have read my column).

My time at the Collegian allowed me a chance to write about my reflections and analysis on current events that impact all our lives. I find myself always asking why something is the way it is, and it is that curiosity that helped me find inspiration for my articles.

I am not so arrogant to think my opinion is the right opinion, or that no one else could be doing the job as good I can. But I certainly hope that I had an inkling of an impact on the hearts and minds of some individuals at this university.

As I pack up my meager possessions and head out into the horizon for a career in the treacherous world of journalism or politics, I can look back and wish I had done more, or I can leave with a sense of satisfaction from knowing I did at least try to make an impact at CSU.

Now, heed some “words of wisdom” I would like to bestow upon you all as I prepare for my departure.

As the great Confucius once said, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

You should go out and live learning. Learning should not be boring. Reading a book other than a textbook is always an excellent choice. Joining student media really is a great choice and writing for the Collegian is kind of cool – it is more than having your name in print. Finding inspiration in experiencing adventures and crazy challenges is really what college is all about, because learning takes place outside the classroom.

Here is my advice for all you students: Question authority; challenge the status quo; never believe everything in a textbook; disagree with professors at least some of the time; exercise freedom of speech; get outside of a comfort zone and enroll in an ethnic studies course.

Courtney Stuard is a graduating senior journalism major. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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